Football Banning Orders
What are football banning orders?
Football Banning Orders are a type of court order, usually made after a conviction for a ‘football related’ offence. They can last between three and ten years and will include one or more conditions which you must obey. Breach of a Football Banning Order is a criminal offence punishable by up to six months in prison.
How often are football banning orders imposed?
As at August 2018 there were 1822 Football Banning Orders in force. This represents a fall of 6% over the previous season.
460 Football Banning Orders were imposed for the same season, down 57 from the previous year.
The good news for fans is that there were only 3.5 arrests for every 100 000 people who attended football matches. Again, this is a reduction on the previous year. Supporters of Championship clubs continued to account for the largest proportion of banning orders, with 34% of the total, or 621 orders.
What terms can be included in Football Banning Orders?
The conditions of football banning offences can include:
- Preventing you from attending football matches at home or abroad;
- Preventing you from going to a specific place or area for a period beginning two hours before a match starts until two hours after it finishes. In some cases this can include public transport or entire towns.
- Surrendering your passport before international football matches.
- Reporting at a local police station.
Exactly what conditions are made may vary depending on the facts of each case, however many Courts have ‘boilerplate’ Banning Orders- i.e. a pre-set list of ‘standard’ conditions which appear on most Orders that they make.
How could I be subject to a Football Banning Order?
Football Banning Orders were originally designed to prevent football hooliganism in the late 1980s but many supporters now finding themselves facing them, sometimes after conviction for minor offences or even where they haven’t been convicted of any offence at all. There are two possible ways to end up with one:
- a) After Conviction
The court must make a Football Banning Order if you are convicted of a ‘relevant offence’ and it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that making a banning order would help to prevent violence or disorder. It is for the Prosecution to show that an order should be made because the offence was, in some way, football related. Relevant offences include:
- Possession of alcohol or being drunk while entering/trying to enter ground;
- Disorderly behaviour;
- Any offence involving the use or threat of violence towards another person or property;
- Any offence involving the use, carrying or possession of an offensive weapon;
- Drunk and disorderly;
- Driving or being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol, or driving or being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink or drugs.
- Throwing of missiles at a football match;
- Indecent or racialist chanting;
- Going onto the playing area;
- Unauthorised sale of tickets.
- b) ‘On Complaint’
The police can also apply for a Football Banning Order if an officer believes that you have (at any time) caused or contributed to any violence or disorder in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. These applications are usually based on police intelligence reports from football games. Many fans returning from EURO 2016 found themselves facing these applications despite not being charged or convicted in connection with any alleged behaviour in France.
If the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe it would help to prevent future football-related violence or disorder, they will make a Football Banning Order.
Can I fight it?
Yes. Just because an application is made does not mean that it will be successful. We will provide you with advice so that you can resist the imposition of a Football Banning Order.
I already have a Football Banning Order. Can I apply to have it removed early?
Yes. You can apply to the court after two thirds of the order length has been completed. For example, this could be after two years of three year order. The court will consider your character, your conduct since the Order was made, the nature of the offence or conduct which led to it and any other circumstances which appear to be relevant.
Can I get Legal Aid?
If you qualify financially, yes.
If you do not qualify for means tested criminal Legal Aid we can represent you by agreeing an affordable fixed fee. This allows you to be clear about our fees in advance and there will be no surprises at the end of your case.
Contact an expert solicitor for advice about a football banning order
If you face investigation by the police, or proceedings for a football related offence before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court for a football related offence then you will wish to instruct a specialist solicitor. They will be able to give you the advice and representation so that you can secure the best outcome from you.
As a result, if you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about an offence then make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.
If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings as a result of football offences we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case. Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.